Well it was a lovely day yesterday and I had a couple of hours to kill which co-incided perfectly time-wise with the excellent Richard Porter’s Beatles Magical Mystery tour walking around London’s Soho and beyond. My fellow walkers were an interesting bunch, mainly from foreign parts, America, Canada and France and with a huge age range. A man from Cincinnati with his entire family who has done some work for Yoko, a 27 year old who had just discovered The Beatles and was buying all their albums on vinyl, as well as another 24 year old who had also just discovered the band but did not know who Keith Moon was. As a man of a certain age who grew up with the group as my soundtrack, I found this all most fascinating – I undoubtedly blame the parents for a lack of their children’s musical education.
Walks.com is your starting point if you are interested and I highly recommend it. The photo was taken of our group in Mason’s Yard outside the old Indica Bookshop. I love this yard and the history of it – not only is it the site of a Sixties private members hang-out the Scotch of St James which is now back in business incidentally but there is a famous nearby shop – William Fortnum was a footman in the royal household of Queen Anne. The Royal Family’s insistence on having new candles every night meant a lot of half-used wax which William Fortnum promptly resold for a tidy profit. The enterprising William Fortnum also had a sideline business as a grocer. He convinced his landlord, Hugh Mason, to be his associate, and they founded the first Fortnum & Mason store in Mason’s small shop in St James’s Market in 1707. Love that story.